Languages
Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Profile: John Key

John Key makes acceptance speech
John Key made his fortune as a currency trader

John Key made a fortune as a currency trader before returning to New Zealand to pursue his political ambitions.

Critics said that with only six years' experience as an MP, he did not have the experience to successfully lead New Zealand as prime minister.

But after rejuvenating the centre-right National Party, he has swept to power in an election dominated by change.

"In their hundreds and thousands across the country they have voted for change," he said after his victory.

Long-held dream

John Key was born in Auckland and brought up by his mother after his father died when Mr Key was only six years old.

After training as an accountant, he became a currency trader in New Zealand, before moving to Singapore and then London.

During a successful, and highly-paid career, he earned the nickname "smiling assassin" for his ability to remain cheerful while making staff cuts.

In returning home and running for political office he "fulfilled a long-held ambition".

He won the Helensville seat in 2002 - and again in 2005, having increased his majority eightfold.

Mr Key, who is married with two children, was elected leader of the party in 2006.

Analysts says he has forced National into the political middle, accepting Labour policies such as the anti-nuclear law and the deployment of troops to Afghanistan.

But his pledge to lower taxes and get tough on criminal gangs also appealed to voters.

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Time for change in New Zealand?
07 Nov 08 |  Asia-Pacific
New Zealand leader calls election
12 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: New Zealand
11 Sep 08 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific